emmy had no problem convincing me to run this race because of the awesome post-relay pancake breakfast at the lodge. we did the trrc couples relay in 2006 (while i was still a member of wtc, in fact), and finished in 3rd place. i didn't have a particular finish goal in mind, nor did i have any desire to run the race all out. the 2.5 mile trail is very rocky and hilly (probably closer to 2.4 miles). it was all about having some fun and doing a little socializing!
in a turnaround from the holiday 4 miler the day before, i wasn't cold at all. emmy, on the other hand, was cold enough to run the race in her windbreaker! just as i couldn't get myself to take off my sweatshirt for the 4 miler, emmy kept her windbreaker on the relay! i wore my sturdier trail shoes, the new balance 908's, instead of the lightweight 840's. i went with the heavier pair because of the extremely rocky trail.
we did an easy warm up that covered the first mile or so of the trail. i wanted to scope out the two big climbs in that mile and get a sense of the trail conditions. while it had warmed up, the first climb had large patches of ice mixed into the rocks. the women start the race, complete an almost figure 8 type course, and then the men do the same. in the field was my former wtc teammates, judy (who had just won a local turkey trot last month) and her husband, wayne.
when the women descended the first hill, emmy was in second place and judy in third. on the way back, emmy was in a neck and neck tie for first place and judy was just behind them. windbreaker and all, emmy was the first woman finisher in 14:22! she spotted me a solid 15-20 lead over the second place team. my plan to take it easy quickly evaporated when i realized squandering such a great lead wouldn't be cool. so i got my head into race mode.
knowing that the first climb was a quarter mile down the road, i eased into the initial stretch. that decision let the second place team catch up me at the trail head. but despite that momentary reversal of fortune i wasn't too worried - there were two climbs in front of us, and then retracing this hill, from the reverse direction. plenty of time to race.
as we came off the first hill, the women had traded places with the men and cheered us on. midway up the second hill i moved back into first and held on to it from there. just before i finished the first trail loop, however, i caught up to a husband-wife team. she had gotten injured on the trail and he was getting her back to the lodge. i slowed down and asked if they needed any help. she was okay, they said, so i continued on my way.
i finished my leg in 13:49 (which, coincidentally, equalled the 13:50 i ran in 2006). i was more than surprised, shocked actually, that we had won the race! then we cheered on the other runners on the course. after wayne finished, judy and emmy went back out on the trail to run a little more. after the injured runner and her husband arrived, he finished her leg of the relay, and his own! when everyone was done, we went to the lodge for the post-race festivities.
prior to the start, i had some pistachio nuts and bacon - not a typical pre-race diet! back at the lodge i continued with the pistachio nuts until the pancakes were ready. breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and pistachio nuts got kicked up a notch with some great beer too! we got to try a brand new beer from the captain lawrence brewery - expresso stout. gary, who not only ran the race, works at the brewery and had a growler of the new beer in his car. it was awesome stuff!
this wasn't the first time gary brought a bit of captain lawrence to trrc race. last winter he poured some at the st. patricks day races! but, not a man limited to great beer, gary also made the incredible cheesecake that was raffled off after the awards ceremony. in what can only be an example of lightening striking twice (in one morning), i won the raffle!
here are some relay photos.
next up: the ted corbitt 15k in central park this weekend.